It’s massively important, but is the net safe?
With over seven billion people on the planet and approximately 40% of them online, the internet is one of the most important resources to protect, but is it completely protected? We’ve all heard about bugs like Shellshock and the 512k router problem, but are there other menaces that could bring down the worldwide web?
512k routers nearing their limit
“While there are extreme scenarios like natural disasters and terrorist attacks that can cause disruption to the web, it is actually far more commonplace to see the internet fall foul due to shortcomings with routine maintenance and operations, such as hardware upgrades,” says Mike Palladino, director of IP infrastructure and operations at internet hosting company Internap in Atlanta, US. Palladino is talking about widely-deployed, older routers hitting their default 512k routing table limit, a problem that has this year seen websites and networks knocked down.
At around 500,000 routes – a figure that’s increasing by around 1,000 routes per week – the growth of the global internet routing table shows no signs of slowing. “It’s putting many organisations on a collision course with network instability over the coming months and years as millions of legacy routers hit their physical limits,” thinks Palladino. “What makes the problem even more challenging is that companies don’t want the headache of fully migrating to IPv6, so they are trying to squeeze as much IPv4 out of the remaining allocations as possible, which is only adding to the inflation of the routing table.”
Many companies are getting caught off guard, Palladino believes, and smaller enterprises in particular could learn some very painful lessons.